Trends in Polypropylene Global Trade

Global trade in polypropylene homopolymer was 21.9 million tons in 2022, down 4% from the prior year. ITP projects a 3% decline in global trade volume in 2023, to 21.2 million tons.

Trade volume in polypropylene rose steadily each year, peaking at 22.7 million tons in 2021, but then declined in 2022 to 21.9 million tons. (Propylene copolymers, defined as polymers with propylene monomer content less than 95%, are traded under a different Harmonized System number and accounted for an additional 10 million tons of trade in 2022.)

The following graphs compare 2018 and 2022 and show how much polypropylene was exported by each region to other regions and how much was imported into each region from other regions. (Both exclude intra-regional trade.)

On the export side, note the increase in 2022 in shipments out of the Middle East and Asia-Pacific versus 2018, and also the rise in exports out of Eastern Europe on new capacity in Russia. (Russia stopped publishing trade statistics early in 2022 but the country’s trade is largely visible from trading partner statistics.)

Every world region imported more polypropylene homopolymer in 2022 than five years earlier except North America. Imports into Asia-Pacific were up only slightly over the period, as higher volumes into India, Indonesia, Thailand and others only partly offset lower imports into China.

China continues to be the world’s largest volume importing country. Imports through August 2023 totaled 1.8 million tons, up 2% from the same period in 2022. Exports August YTD were 752,000 tons, down 23%. The following graphs of China’s trade from January 2019 through August 2023 show the impact of new domestic capacity and reduced demand both domestically and abroad on imports and exports.

From International Trader Publications’ Polypropylene World Trade Analysis, a continuously updated online analysis of global trade developed from trade statistics from all available countries.